Incoming transfers will grab most of the headlines this summer, but what Steve Bruce decides to do with Matty Longstaff will be one to watch closely. The 21-year-old is entering the final year of the two-year contract he signed last summer which basically only kicked the big decision on his future down the road.
This time around it could take some convincing to get the local lad to commit to Newcastle. He made just 5 appearances last term and was frozen out for the final three months despite giving a good account of himself during a stretch of starts at the turn of the New Year.
Matty’s season got off to a foreboding start due to a pesky thigh injury that kept him out of the reckoning for the first two months. He made his season debut in early November in the 2-0 defeat at Southampton coming on as a second-half substitute.
The midfielder didn’t get a real opportunity until late December and early January where he was handed four starts in five matches. Then just as suddenly as Matty came into the team, he was out of Bruce’s thinking for the remainder of the season with the head coach opting for experience down the stretch.
Ultimately, Bruce’s decision to block a loan move to Watford in January turned out to be a very poor one. It cost Matty a great opportunity to get some first-team football under his belt. With Joe Willock being brought in on loan, Bruce had enough cover in midfield to sanction the move.
However, hindsight is 20/20 as they say and Newcastle have work to do to salvage Longstaff’s future as a Magpie. The best course forward could be to follow the Freddie Woodman example of two years ago.
Woodman was coming off a similarly disappointing campaign after having a loan move blocked by then-manager Rafa Benitez. The goalkeeper had a few starts in the FA Cup but it was first-team football that he was thirsting for.
In 2019, Woodman, as he was entering the final year of his deal, agreed to a year-long extension before heading to Swansea for a season-long loan. That proved to be an outstanding decision as Freddie improved immensely and signed a three year deal last summer before going back to the Liberty Stadium this past season.
Newcastle could work out a similar loan move for Matty and convince him to extend his current contract to 2023. He should have no shortage of Championship clubs willing to bring him in next season. While Watford have been promoted, The Chronicle claims that Derby are looking at Matty as a loan option for next season.